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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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"WITJJAM YON HTJMBOLDT.                   301
the translation has energy and poetical feeling, but
he considers it too harsh, heavy, and indistinct. It
wants a more common structure, more clearness, and
perhaps a less faithful metre.
" You seem to condemn my work equally, hut just
from contrary reasons, though it might he possible
that your complaint of want of the true spirit of
Eschylus is identical with Schiller's objection of want
of clearness.
Ci Franz Schlegel made the same objections that you
make when I read the manuscript to him in an
earlier copy than the one you have. I altered many
things, and at the second reading he seemed more
content. Whether he was quite satisfied, I do not
know. He is, as you know, rather laconic in these
matters.
" Goethe is very well satisfied with the work, as I
gather from remarks made to myself and others, and
from his constant interest in the progress of the work.
He wants me not only to finish the " Agamemnon/*
but to follow it up with appropriately chosen pieces
by Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. They all
seem not particularly to esteem the versification, which
is the most difficult and, in my opinion, the most- me-
ritorious portion of the work. With Schiller, it is
from want of the requisite knowledge of Greek. You
have given no opinion on this point. Goethe seems
to feel and to approve of it, but he wants the know-
ledge for criticising it. Franz Schlegel is the only
one who has entered into the subject, and he is, with
a few exceptions, satisfied.
" Thus far my report. The position I take up in
face of these criticisms is this. In the first place I
always consider blame more justified than praise.
Goethe Js praise is, for many reasons, not satisfactory*
He finds my translation of great use in reading Hie
original, and is grateful. Of the adverse judgments,
Schiller's seems to me the least important; it only
proves that I cannot count on a very extensive circle
of readers, and I knew that before. Only your con-